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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Employee Honored With Missouri Older Worker Award

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 10, 2009) – At the age of 80, Ernestine Westerhold of Centerview finds herself nearly 25 years into her second career as a library assistant at UCM’s James C. Kirkpatrick Library. Her dedication to her job and helping library patrons resulted in her selection as the 2009 Experience Works Region IV Outstanding Older Worker Award for the state of Missouri.

Ernestine Westerhold

Joining Ernestine Westerhold, center, for the presentation of the Missouri Region IV Older Worker of the Year Award were, left to right, State Rep. Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg; Warrensburg Mayor Jeff Terry; Mollie Dinwiddie, UCM Dean of Library Services; Bill Thole, regional employment and training director for Experience Works; UCM President Aaron Podolefsky; and Kyle Wilkens, representing U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton.

State and Local Officials Participate

Bill Thole, regional employment and training coordinator for Experience Works, recently presented Westerhold with the award during a ceremony on the lawn of Selmo Park, the home of the UCM president. Congratulatory comments were offered by UCM President Aaron Podolefsky and Kyle Wilkens, a representative of Congressman Ike Skelton. Rep. Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg presented Westerhold with a proclamation from the Missouri House of Representatives, and Warrensburg Mayor Jeff Terry presented a proclamation from the city of Warrensburg.

Keeping Up with the Times

Mollie Dinwiddie, dean of library services at UCM, explained that Westerhold’s job has changed since she joined the library staff in 1985. Film and print materials have been replaced by CDs and computer storage, and library circulation systems have changed from card files to computer data bases.  Dinwiddie noted that Westerhold’s willingness to keep up with the changes, along with her work ethic and sense of humor in the face of past serious illnesses, have made her the ideal employee.

“Anyone would have a hard time keeping up with her,” she added.

A Second Career for a Veteran Educator

Westerhold’s career with UCM began following her retirement after 26 years as a public school teacher in several schools in Johnson County, Mo. As the Region IV recipient of the award, she is a nominee for the statewide award that will be presented during a two-day awards event in Jefferson City Sept. 24-25.

The annual Older Worker of the Year award honors Missouri residents age 65 or older who are employed 20 hours per week or more and display dependability and willingness to learn new skills on the job.